FREDERICK -- The Frederick boys basketball had a horrible start to last season.
That couldn't happen again, and it didn't.
Senior point guard Lucas Adams made sure of that, hitting a game-winning 3-pointer to lead his team to a 53-51 win over Poudre on Wednesday night on the opening day of the winter sports season.
The Warriors trailed 51-49 with 10 seconds left when senior guard Christian Martinez rebounded the Warriors' first 3-point attempt and found Adams at the top of the key. Adams buried the Warriors' only longball of the game to put them up for good.
"I have to give credit to Christian Martinez," said Adams, who finished with 19 points. "He crashed the boards and found me up top. I didn't hesitate. I just shot it. We're happy it went in and everyone pitched in for a great team victory."
During the 2011-12 season, the Warriors lost their first three games and started out 1-5. They finished 12-12 and made the state tournament but desperately wanted to avoid another dismal opening week.
"After the way we started out last year, it's definitely great to get off on the right foot," Adams said. "Especially, against a 5A school. That looks good on our resume come tournament selection time."
Adams also said winning the first-ever game at the new Frederick High School gym meant a lot to the Warriors. They had a better record on the road (5-4) than at home (6-6) last season.
"It's about protecting our house," Adams said. "We want to work on using the crowd as a little fuel and get quality wins at home. It's tough to get wins on the road these days."
Adams and his teammates understand they're not the tallest or most athletic team. But they came up with clutch baskets and wrangled a few loose balls when they needed to on Wednesday.
At 6-foot-2, senior forward Ryan Miller led the Warriors with nine rebounds. Miller scored 12 points and junior forward Jayden McGraw added nine, five in the fourth quarter. Martinez, a six-foot guard, finished with eight rebounds against the 5A Front Range League foe that won 17 games a year ago.
"No matter what happens in the game, you've gotta never give up and fight until the final whistle blows," Miller said. "We had to box out hard, we enforced that a lot in practice this week: Box out hard and get a body on someone every time the ball is in the air."
Forward Lake Reed, who found his rhythm early and scored 10 points in the first quarter, led the Impalas with 23 points.
The Warriors led 45-38 with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter before giving up the lead on a 13-5 run.
"I told the kids I put that on myself," Frederick coach Larry Frank said. "We had a solid lead there and we should have gave them a little bit different look defensively to get them out of their comfort zone. They went on a little run and I had to use a timeout or two but we didn't hang our heads and Lucas hit a big shot."
The Warriors will play Wheat Ridge next Friday.
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Frederick 53, Poudre 51
At Frederick HS
S. Long 0 0-0 0, Salumu 0 0-0 0, Casey 1 4-6 6, McFall 3 0-0 8, Clay 1 1-3 3, Lundquist 3 1-2 7, Kahl 0 0-0 0, Finley 1 0-0 2, Reed 9 2-3 23. Totals 18 8-14 51.
Burgess 0 1-2 1, Adams 5 8-11 19, McGraw 3 3-3 9, Rivera 1 0-0 2, Wise 1 1-2 3, Therrien 1 0-0 2, Martinez 1 3-3 5, Gomez 1 0-1 2, Miller 4 4-7 12. Totals 17 20-29 53.
Score by quarters:
Poudre 15 11 10 15 -- 51
Frederick 15 15 7 16 -- 53
3-point field goals -- Poudre (5): Reed 3, McFall 2; Frederick (1): Adams. Total fouls -- Poudre 18, Frederick 16. Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None.